Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Text Effects
Design

Create a Plastic Balls Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

by
Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a colorful plastic balls text effect in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shape. Next, using basic blending and vector shape building techniques, some neat stroke features, a simple blend and a bunch of effects, you will add shading and highlights for your shape. 

Once you make your first plastic ball, you will learn how to multiply it and how to easily recolor these copies using the Recolor Artwork feature. Moving on, you will learn how to turn your plastic balls into simple symbols and how to use them for a colorful text effect. Finally, you'll learn how to add a subtle texture for your overall illustration.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 700 in the width box and 400 in the height box and then click the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 1 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Main Shape and Add Subtle Shading

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=0 G=141 B=237. Move to your artboard and simply create a 20 px circle—the grid and the Snap to Grid feature should make your work easier.

blue circle

Step 2

Make sure that your blue circle is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select only this copy and focus on the Appearance panel.

First, remove the color from the fill. Next, select the stroke, make it black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then click on that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 3 px and then select Width Profile 2 from the Profile drop-down menu.

black stroke

Step 3

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make a new copy front (Control-C > Control-F). Reselect the circle with the black stroke and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Intersect button.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Simply click that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel and then lower the Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 4

Make sure that your blue circle is still selected and make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select only this copy and focus on the Appearance panel.

Remove the color from the fill, select the stroke, make it black and then open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 6 px and then select that same Width Profile 2 from the Profile drop-down menu.

second black stroke

Step 5

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make a new copy front (Control-C > Control-F). Reselect the circle with the black stroke and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, lower the Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 6

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-') and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1 px.

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up and 1 px to the right using the up and right arrow buttons from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 7

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px up and 2 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 8

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up and 1 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white (R=255 G=255 B=255), lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

highlight

3. Add Highlights

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px white circle and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

circle highlight

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 6 px white circle and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

circle highlight

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 3 px white circle and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

circle highlight

Step 4

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down and 1 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

highlight

Step 5

Make sure that your blue circle is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and click the OK button. Select the resulting shape, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and move it 1 px down and 1 px to the left. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control-]) and then focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

highlight

Step 6

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 6 px circle and place it as shown in the first image. Add a 1 px white stroke for this new shape and remove any fill color. Make sure that this circle stays selected and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the three anchor points highlighted in the second image and simply remove them using the Delete button from your keyboard. In the end your white path should look like in the third image.

circle white stroke

Step 7

Make sure that your white path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and open the Stroke fly-out panel. Check the Round Cap button and the Dashed Line box. Enter 0 px in the first dash box and 2 px in the first gap box, check the Align dashes to corners and path ends... button and then select Width Profile 1 from that Profile drop-down menu. In the end your white path should look like in the following image.

dashed stroke

Step 8

Make sure that your white path is still selected and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a simple compound path using the Control-8 keyboard shortcut and then focus on the Appearance panel. Lower the Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

expand dashed stroke

Step 9

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4 x 2 px shape, set the fill color to white and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1 px Radius, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

white shape

Step 10

Make sure that your white shape is still selected and switch to the Rotate Tool (R). Hold the Alt button from your keyboard and drag that reference point in the center of your blue circle. Enter a 135 degree Angle and then click the Copy button. Select the new shape, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

rotate white shape

Step 11

Reselect that white shape and again pick the Rotate Tool (R). Drag that reference point in the center of your blue circle, enter a 45 degree Angle and this time click the OK button. Make sure that this shape stays selected, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

rotate white shape

4. Create a Simple Blend and Add More Shading

Step 1

Reselect your blue circle and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 5 px circle, place it as shown in the second image and set the fill color to R=37 G=192 B=255.

second blue circle

Step 2

Focus on your Toolbar and simply double click on the Blend Tool to open the Blend Options window. Select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop-down menu and simply enter 50 in that white box. Reselect the two blue circles and simply hit Alt-Control-B to create a new blend. In the end things should look like in the second image.

blend

Step 3

Reselect your blend, send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut and then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button. Now, select all the shapes made so far and simply Group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

drop shadow

Step 4

Make sure that your group stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and simply add a stroke using the Add New Stroke button. Select this stroke, set the color to R=0 G=141 B=237, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path

Enter a 0.5 px Offset, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Pathfinder > Add. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire group is selected (simply click that "Group" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

outer glow

5. Multiply and Recolor the New Plastic Balls

Step 1

Make a copy of your group and drag it to the right as shown in the first image. Select this group copy and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Focus on the two blue tints and simply replace the existing color codes with the ones indicated in the following image.

yellow plastic ball

Step 2

Make a copy of your yellow group and drag it to the right. Select this group copy and go again to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Focus on the two yellow tints and simply replace the existing color codes with the ones indicated in the following image.

red plastic ball

Step 3

Make a copy of your red group and drag it to the right. Select this group copy and go again to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Focus on the two red tints and simply replace the existing color codes with the ones indicated in the following image.

green plastic ball

Step 4

Make a copy of your green group and drag it to the right. Select this group copy and go again to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. Focus on the two green tints and simply replace the existing color codes with the ones indicated in the following image.

purple plastic ball

6. Save Your Symbols and Set the Background Color

Step 1

Select the group of shapes that makes up your blue plastic ball, open the Symbols panel (Window > Symbols) and simply click that New Symbol button. Pick a name for your symbol and click OK. Select the rest of the groups one by one and use the same technique to turn them into symbols.

save symbols

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 710 x 410 px shape, make sure that it covers your entire artboard, and set the fill color to R=197 G=237 B=255. Move to the Layers panel and lock this rectangle to make sure that you don't accidentally select/move it.

background rectangle

7. Create the Text Effect

Step 1

Pick the Type Tool (T), simply click on your artboard and add the "PLAY" piece of text. Use the Vanilla font with the size set to 150 px, make it black and lower its Opacity to about 10%. Again, move to the Layers panel and lock this piece of text to make sure that you don't accidentally select/move it.

text

Step 2

Focus on the first letter and drag your five symbols from the Symbols panel. Try to spread them roughly as shown in the following image.

spread first symbols

Step 3

Keep adding your five symbols until you cover most of that "P". Try to have an equal number of plastic balls for each color.

spread more symbols

Step 4

Focus on the rest of your text and repeat the technique used for the first letter. Once you're done, move to the Layers panel and get rid of that piece of text. Also, spread some plastic balls around your text as shown in the second image.

text effect

Step 5

Select some of the added symbols and randomly resize them as shown in the following images.

resize symbols

8. Add a Subtle Texture

Step 1

Move to the Layers panel, unlock that blue rectangle, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill, lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Color Burn and simply replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

radial gradient

Step 2

Make sure that the rectangle made in the previous step is still selected and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

film grain

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final product
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.